I don’t understand why European policy makers continue to think about a “third scheme” for cards. The time has gone, so let’s move on.
[Dave Birch] I went along to a seminar, kindly hosted by Barclays, to take part in a discussion organised by the Centre for European Reform
on the future of retail banking in Europe. David Shirreff,
the Frankfurt business correspondent for The Economist, has written a pamphlet for the Centre called “European Retail Banking: Will there ever be a single market?” [PDF
]. David’s key points are that in smaller countries markets have opened up, but in larger countries (eg, Germany) there has been resistance to change; that the Commission should use competition powers to take on vested interests but stick with a light touch; and, most controversially, that regulators should create a framework in which each business within a bank (and I guess this would include payments) should have its own capital and profit and loss account to increase the scope for cross-border mergers and acquisitions below the mega-merger level. I am absolutely not qualified to comment on whether this makes sense or not, but I thought that Digital Money Devotees might be interested in the discussions that followed (I’ve not attributed any of the comments, in case I misunderstood them in some way, and I’ve tried to focus down on relevant part of the discussion).